HEALTHY SCHOOL ENVIRONMENTS
Information on healthy and environmentally safe school facilities, compiled by the National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities. See also NCEF Resource Lists on Indoor Air Quality, Hazardous Materials, Green Cleaning, Pesticides and IPM, Mold in Schools, and more.
References to Books and Other Media
Green Clean Schools
(National Association of State Boards of Education, Feb 2012)
Ten states now have laws or policies regarding green cleaning in schools. The National Association of State Boards of Education highlights these state actions and many other facets of green cleaning and healthy school buildings in the February 2012 edition of its journal, the State Education Standard. Includes the following articles: Existing and Emerging Third-Party Certifications Programs; Making Green Cleaning Easy for Local School Boards; Roadmap to Implementing Green Cleaning in Districts and Schools; State Governments: Promoting Green Cleaning in Schools;Three Case Studies in Green Cleaning; Why Green Clean Our Schools?
Are Schools Making Kids sick?
Martin, David S.
(CNN, Jan 16, 2012)
Reports on how school air is sickening students in schools. Describes a New York study that finds correlation between building maintenance and illness. Refers to studies that estimate one-third of U.S. schools have mold, dust and other indoor air problems. Profiles a Connecticut school that was so plagued with mold officials decided to tear it down. Provides five simple checkpoints for problems: mold; dust; idling buses; heating/air conditioning units; certified green cleaning products. Includes a video showing parents outrage when sickness shuts a school in the Bronx, New York.
EPA: Healthy School Environments Assessment Tool, Version 2[HealthySEAT]
(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2012)
U. S. Environmental Protection Agency's second version of a free software tool that helps school districts evaluate and manage their school facilities for key environmental, safety, and health issues. HealthySEAT is designed to be customized and used by district-level staff to conduct voluntary self-assessments of their school facilities and to track and manage information on environmental conditions school by school. EPA has also included critical elements of all of its regulatory and voluntary programs for schools, as well as web links to more detailed information. Enhancements for Version 2 include user-defined custom checklists, custom notification letters, additional and updated reports and forms, new navigation improvements, e-mail functionality, changes in terminology, and additional documentation.
EPA: Healthy School Environments Resources
(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2012)
These web pages are intended to serve as a gateway to on-line resources to help facility managers, school administrators, architects, design engineers, school nurses, parents, teachers and staff address environmental health issues in schools. Topics covered include chemical use and management; design, construction, and renovation; energy efficiency; facility operations and maintenance; indoor environmental quality; legislation and regulation; outdoor air pollution; portable classrooms; safety/preparedness; waste; and waste reduction.
EPA: IAQ Design Tools for Schools
(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2012)
Website developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to help school districts and facility planners find the information resources they need to design new school facilities, and repair existing facilities. Topics include: high performance schools, school siting, pre-design, materials selection, HVAC, controlling pollutants, moisture control, construction, commissioning, operations and maintenance, renovation and repair, portable classrooms, IAQ Tools for Schools.
Improved Academic Performance. Student Health and Academic Performance: Using Research to Make the Case for Comprehensive IAQ Management in Schools.
(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, IAQ Tools for Schools. , 2012)
Provides links to research reports that link key environmental factors to health outcomes and students’ ability to perform. Includes the latest scientific data on indoor environmental quality, health and academic performance. Discusses why the physical environment of a school is important; what environmental factors are important and practical to address; and how much improvement can be expectec in academic performance and health.
Proximity of Public Elementary Schools to Major Roads in Canadian Urban Areas
Amram, Ofer; Abernethy, Rebecca; Brauer, Michael; Davies, Hugh; and Allen, Ryan W
(International Journal of Health Geographics , Dec 21, 2011)
Epidemiologic studies have linked exposure to traffic-generated air and noise pollution with a wide range of adverse health effects in children. Children spend a large portion of time at school, and both air pollution and noise are elevated in close proximity to roads, so school location may be an important determinant of exposure. No studies have yet examined the proximity of schools to major roads outside of the US. Data on public elementary schools in Canada's 10 most populous cities were obtained from online databases. School addresses were geocoded and proximity to the nearest major road, defined using a standardized national road classification scheme, was calculated for each school. Based on measurements of nitrogen oxide concentrations, ultrafine particle counts, and noise levels in three Canadian cities we conservatively defined distances <75 m from major roads as the zone of primary interest. Census data at the city and neighborhood levels were used to evaluate relationships between school proximity to major roads, urban density, and indicators of socioeconomic status. Conclusions: asubstantial fraction of students at public elementary schools in Canada, particularly students attending schools in low income neighborhoods, may be exposed to elevated levels of air pollution and noise while at school. As a result, the locations of schools may negatively impact the healthy development and academic performance of a large number of Canadian children. [Authors' abstract]
Healthy, High Performance School Facilities: Developments in State Policy.
(Environmental Law Institute, Jul 2011)
Brief summaries of state laws, executive orders and other formal policies that address healthy, high performance school design and construction. Most of these policies reference either the LEED rating system or the CHPS criteria as the green building standard to be met by covered school construction projects.
The Smokestack Effect: Toxic Air and America's Schools.
(USA Today , Jun 2011)
This special report website includes articles and videos on air pollution at America's school sites. An overlay of school site and Environmental Protection Agency air pollution data provides a tool for finding a school and its air quality standing. A map illustrates clusters of schools where toxic air is the highest.
EPA: Assessing Outdoor Air Near Schools.
(Environmental Protection Agency, Apr 26, 2011)
Provides information on an EPA initiative to monitor outdoor air around schools. The project will collect samples of outdoor air near selected schools over 60 days, analyze those samples for air toxics of potential concern, report on levels of air toxics found and their potential for long-term health impacts, evaluate actions that may be needed to reduce levels of pollutants of concern, and take action as needed to ensure that nearby industries are in compliance with clean air regulations. When monitoring results are available, EPA will post them on this site. This webpage also provides information on the schools where monitoring will occur, background information on air toxics, and links to other programs EPA has in place to protect communities and school environments.
Managing Indoor Air Quality. Fifth Edition
Burroughs, H.E.; Hansen, Shirley J.
(Fairmont Press, Apr 2011)
Practical, hands-on reference guide on applicable air quality control measures and preventative strategies. Includes complete response and step-by-step investigation tactics and tools. Specific symptoms of building-associated illnesses are detailed, along with practical guidelines for identifying and controlling the associated pollutant or source of the problem. Provides the results of a decade of new indoor air quality research and experience, as well as updated references and contacts, an update on standards, a new chapter on filtration, the latest research results on causes of indoor air quality problems, and innovative new investigation strategies. 350p.
Environmental Law Institute Database of State Indoor Air Quality Laws, Database Excerpt: IAQ in Schools. Updated.
(Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC , Feb 2011)
Presents a collection of laws in the Institute's database that deal with school indoor air quality. The chart includes laws that address schools directly or exclusively, but does not include general laws that may also affect schools. States without such laws are not represented in the chart, and the list does not claim to be exhaustive compilation. 23p.
Children's Health and Chemical Exposure: Beginning Risks
(Air Quality Sciences, Inc. Atlanta, GA, Jan 2011)
Examines the implications of chemical exposure and indoor air quality (IAQ) on children's health, as well as the ways by which physical differences, socioeconomic status, and activity patterns increase overall risk. 23p
Cleaning for Healthy Schools Toolkit.
(National Collaborative Work Group on Green Cleaning and Chemical Policy Reform in Schools , 2011)
Offers learning modules designed to introduce all audiences to the concept of green cleaning and cleaning for healthy schools. The Toolkit is an open-source, industry-free, customizable, comprehensive program to safeguard human health, reduce exposures to chemicals, and cost-effectively improve the performance of cleaning programs.
Investing in Our Children's Future: Building Sustainable Environmental Health Programs in Our Schools.
Educational Facility Planner; v45 n3 , p29-31 ; 2011
Reviews major tenets concerning the contribution of a healthy school environment to academic achievement. Ten references are included.
Performance Evaluation of Indoor Environment towards Sustainability for Higher Educational Buildings
Khalil, Natasha; Husin, Husrul Nizam; Wahab, Lilawati Ab; Kamal, Kamarul Syahril; Mahat, Noorsaidi
(US-China Education Review , 2011)
The indoor environmental factors considered in higher educational building must be determined in order to meet the user's requirement. Disruption of indoor environment may reduce occupants' efficiencies and their learning process and activities. But the question is, how to ensure that the provision of indoor environmental aspects achieves high satisfaction to the building user. Therefore, POE (post occupancy evaluation) is a prominent tool that indicates satisfaction and comfort level needs by the building occupants as lessons learned to identify problems in the indoor environment. The information of the building's condition is gained by reviewing what the occupants' feelings are and how they response to their needs by using and occupying the building. With relation to the title, the main aim of this study is to determine the occupants' satisfaction levels and the probability of learning process, which can be affected due to poor environmental conditions, based on analytical study on concept and process of POE. A survey on occupants' satisfaction of 100 students in University Technology of MARA, Perak, Malaysia, has revealed that there is significance of providing good quality of indoor environmental conditions, that will affect the learning process of the students. It is concluded that POE is effective to be used in evaluating performance of environmental conditions in a building, especially to apply the relative impact of aspects towards the design of future buildings. By introducing POE in evaluating environmental conditions in higher educational buildings, it is hoped that it helps to move the industry towards sustainable, healthy and comfortable learning areas. [Authors' abstract]
How To Clean and Disinfect Schools To Help Slow the Spread of Flu.
(Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , Sep 2010)
Tips on how to slow the spread of flu specifically through cleaning and disinfecting, including how to do it correctly and how to handle waste properly. 2p.
IAQ & Student Performance
(IAQTV.com, Aug 29, 2010)
Video explains that good physical conditions in schools can reduce absenteeism, improve test scores and improve teacher retention rates. Studies that measure school conditions using an index of several variables consistently show improved scores on standardized tests as school conditions improve. On the other hand, schools with major unmet repair needs and fewer custodial workers per square foot have higher absentee rates and higher dropout rates. IAQ problems can cause increased absences due to respiratory infections, allergic diseases from biological contaminants, or adverse reactions to chemicals used in schools.
Managing Asthma in the School Environment.
(United States Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC , Aug 2010)
Discusses reducing the incidence of asthma in schools through continuous evaluation of indoor air quality, a district-wide asthma management program, and a reduction of asthma triggers. Case studies of three districts efforts in these three areas are included, as are links to seven sources of further information. 16p.Report NO: EPA 402-K-10-004
California Portable Classrooms Study
(California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board (ARB) and Calidornia Department of Health Services (DHS), Apr 01, 2010)
Comprehensive study of the environmental health conditions in portable (relocatable) classrooms. This study investigated classrooms in kindergarten through 12th grade public schools and included a large representative sample. A number of environmental problems were found in classrooms throughout California. The Report to the California Legislature: Environmental Health Conditions in California's Portable Classrooms has been submitted to the Legislature, and is available for download.
Strategies to Enhance School Air Toxic Monitoring in Environmental Justice Communities.
(National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, Washington, DC , Apr 2010)
Offers advice and recommendations about how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency can most effectively promote strategies that would improve EPA's long-term school and community outreach approach in the future. The 19 recommendations outlined in this report identify ways in which EPA can work with its partners and stakeholders at the national, state, tribal, and local levels to enhance the Agency's engagement with all school communities, but especially with low-income and people of color communities. Key recommendations address the employment of of EPA's regulatory clout as needed to mitigate pollution sources around schools, development of community outreach and interagency coordination, and expansion of research and monitoring, 24p.
Education Case Studies.
(Lennox, Inc., Richardson, TX, 2010)
Provides case studies for ten schools that variously improved indoor air quality, saved energy, and improved thermal comfort with Lennox equipment.
Facts about PCBs in Caulk.
(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC , 2010)
Briefly answers questions concerning the use of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in building caulk, addressing the history of their uses, testing for them, means of exposure, and abatement in advance of a renovation. 4p.
Green Cleaning in Schools: A Guide for Advocates.
(Regional Asthma Management and Prevention, Oakland, CA , 2010)
Discusses the importance of "green" cleaning in schools, four steps to initiate change, illustrated with fact sheets on improved environmental health and possible saving with green cleaning, additional green cleaning resources, and links to sample letters, presentations, and policies. Includes 33 references. 16p.
How to Test for PCBs and Characterize Suspect Materials
(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC , 2010)
Advises on how to test for the presence of PCBs in the building. The document recommends that the air is tested first to determine if PCBs may be causing a potential public health problem. This initial step may help prioritize the steps and/or approaches for the renovation or repair work. If a PCB problem is identified, it will need to be characterized to determine the extent of PCB contamination. It is important to note that even if PCBs are not present in the air, they still may be present in the caulk and/or other building materials.
Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs): Steps to Safe Renovation and Repair Activities.
(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC , 2010)
Highlights precautionary measures and best work practices to follow when conducting a repair or renovation in older buildings where PCB-containing caulk could be encountered or where it is assumed that PCBs are present, but do not have an abatement planned. Compliance with protective regulations and techniques to prevent the spread of dust are emphasized. 7p.
References to Journal Articles
Planning for a Healthier School Facility
Educational Facility Planner; v46 n1 , p46-48 ; Jun 2012
Recommends that facility planners and managers specify low-emitting nontoxic products, called source control, for healthier schools. Reviews VOCs, children and poor indoor air quality, chemicals in green building, and other steps to good IAQ.
Guide to Asthma Policy for Schools
(American Lung Association , Apr 2012)
Identifies strategies to help support schools as they create an asthma-friendly learning environment for students, teachers, and staff. Includes tip-sheets, webinars, and an environmental assessment and management plan.
Associations between the School Environment and Adolescent Girls' Physical Activity
Kirby, Joanna; Levin, Kate A.; Inchley, Jo
Health Education Research; v27 n1 , p101-114 ; 2012
This paper explores school sports facility provision, physical education allocation and opportunities for physical activity and their association with the number of days adolescent girls participate in at least 60 min of moderate-vigorous physical activity per week (MVPAdays). Data were collected through self-administered questionnaires from Scottish secondary school girls and head teachers participating in the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children 2005/06 study. Compared with schools with no after school clubs, girls who attended schools with activities at least 1 day per week were likely to have increased MVPAdays. PE allocation and extra-curricular clubs are likely to be of greater importance to girls' participation than school facilities per se. This study demonstrates how schools can maximize their environment to increase girls' PA and offers encouraging findings for those with limited sports facilities. [Authors' abstract]
A Safe Environment
School Planning and Management; Dec 2011
Discusses the EPA's first-ever federal guidelines for locating school facilities that encourage high-performance schools, stress the importance of locating schools near populations and infrastructure and promote schools as diverse centers of communities. They urge communities to consider children's ability to walk to school, access to public transportation and how to locate schools away from potential environmental hazards.
Fit Faculty for Fit Facilities.
School Planning and Management; v50 n8 , p30,31 ; Aug 2011
Compares building health to human physical health, emphasizing that preventive maintenance is as necessary to buildings as it is to humans.
Restroom Hygiene: A Clean Record.
Maintenance Solutions; v19 n7 , p16,18 ; Jul 2011
Recognizes the importance of clean and sanitary restrooms. Crews must have effective tools and resources, gloves and goggles, germicidal detergents, cleaning supplies for mirrors and other fixtures, microfiber cloths, instruction on properly mixing cleaners and disinfectants, and appropriate method fo refilling soap dispensers.
Designed to Curb Obesity.
School Planning and Management; v50 n6 , p41-47 ; Jun 2011
Argues that convenience-based school design must be reconsidered and advocates design that encourages greater activity and physical movement in the drive to curb obesity.
American School and University; v83 n7 , p42-44 ; Mar 2011
Notes that needs of maintaining clean and sanitary restrooms can go unnoticed, and that some administrators are unconvinced that green products are affordable and efficacious. The article documents that green restroom cleaning products can improve indoor air quality (IAQ), which has a very positive impact on student performance; and use of green products reduces the chemical inventory and storage locations in the school. Best practices for use are described, as is a plan for making the products cost-effective.
Methodology for Assessing Exposure and Impacts of Air Pollutants in School Children: Data Collection, Analysis and Health Effects – A Literature Review.
Mejiaa, Jaime; Choyb, Samantha; Mengersen, Kerrie; Morawska, Lidia
Atmospheric Environment; v 45, n4 , 813-823 ; Feb 2011
Explores the methodologies employed to assess the exposure of children to air pollutants, in particular traffic emissions, at school, and how these methodologies influence the assessment of the impact of this exposure on the children’s health. This involves four main steps: the measurement of air quality at school level, the association between measured air quality and children’s exposure, the association between children’s exposure and health; and source identification. The comparative advantages and disadvantages of the methods used at each of these steps are discussed.[author's abstract]
Transforming Pedagogical Ethos into an Effective Learning Environment.
Guldbaek, Jens; Vinkel, Hanna; Broens, Mie
CELE Exchange; n2011/3 ; Jan 2011
Compares the deleterious effect of standardized education to the poor health of a fast food diet. School design should reflect deliberation on how individuals learn and how school facilities will make that process possible.
Keys to Success.
American School and University; v83 n4 , p12-14,16 ; Dec 2010
Describes 10 ways that schools can overcome and move beyond impediments to providing safe, healthful, and high-quality education. The 10 areas include finances, sustainable design, operating efficiency, educational technology, distance learning, security, indoor air quality, maintenance / cleaning, managing space, and community connection.
Building Operating Management; v57 n12 , p28-32,35 ; Dec 2010
Discusses lower employee absences due to allergies, asthma, depression, and stress in “green” working environments. Basic principles of employee-friendly design, office layout, lighting, and acoustics are addressed. These provisions improve workflow as well as employee morale, health, and turnover.
American School and University; v83 n3 , p220-222 ; Nov 2010
Discusses the hazards that bedbugs, rodents, and cockroaches present in school settings, and lists 21 steps that school occupants and employees can take to prevent infestation, particularly in a situation where professional pest management services are being reduced.
Green Doesn't Mean Non-Toxic.
School Planning and Management; v49 n10 , p32,34,36-39 ; Oct 2010
Discusses the discrepancy in volatile organic compound (VOCs) content in cleaning supplies, and the extent to which these compounds are emitted when the product is used. Also addressed is the potential for reactions between these compounds and the atmosphere, and the cumulative effect of these compounds on occupant health.
Reducing the Hazard in Hazmat.
Maintenance Solutions; v18 n10 , p14,15 ; Oct 2010
Advises on the handling of hazardous materials in institutions, with a stepped approach to evaluate current management, identify hazards, communicate procedures, provide personal protection, and reduce hazardous waste.
Cradle to Grave: What You Need to Know.
American School and Hospital Facility; v33 n5 , p18-20 ; Sep-Oct 2010
Discusses categories of hazardous waste, common hazardous waste generated by schools, individual generator statuses of hazardous waste, and storing, shipping, and reducing hazardous waste.
American School and University; v83 n1 , p22,24,25 ; Sep 2010
Discusses "green" cleaning in schools, citing cleaning product certification, improved mixing and dispensing equipment, and coordination of products and cleaning implements.
Walls, Ceilings, and Learning.
School Planning and Management; v49 n7 , p28-31 ; Jul 2010
Discusses the role of prevention of water intrusion into the school building envelope, ceiling tile selection, and insulation in creating a healthy, quite, and comfortable learning environment.
The Benefits of Continuous Cleaning and Touch-Free Solutions.
American School and Hospital Facility; v33 n4 , p23-25 ; Jul-Aug 2010
Describes the advantages of automatic continuous cleaning devices on toilets and urinals, and advises on their installation and maintenance. Completely touch-free restroom fixtures are also recommended.
Fire, Earth and Wind: Managing Risk in Today's Schools. Part 2: The Environment.
School Business Affairs; v76 n6 , p26,27 ; Jul-Aug 2010
Describes the personnel that school officials should be working with to ensure a school environment free of toxins. Environmental engineering consultants, government agencies, contractors, school maintenance personnel, school administrators, and public relations personnel all share responsibility for discovering problems, remediating them, and communicating to the public.
Fighting the War on Germs in Schools.
Doors and Hardware; v74 n7 , p32,33 ; Jul 2010
Describes touch-free door systems that prevent the spreading of germs, particularly in schools, where young children are negligent about washing their hands.
Minimum Standards for School Toilets Are Needed to Improve Child Health.
Nursing Times; Jun 22, 2010
Explains how poorly maintained toilets and missing supplies contribute to childhood constipation and toilet-related health problems, and calls for minimum toilet standards and parental inspection.
Maintaining Student Performance.
School Planning and Management; v49 n6 , p26,28,30 ; Jun 2010
Describes how proper maintenance of school HVAC systems contributes to educational achievement through better air quality and thermal comfort. An example of preventive maintenance on systems in the Round Rock (Texas) School District illustrates many procedures, their respective costs, and benefits.
American School and University; v82 n10 , p26-29 ; May 2010
Balances the need for restroom design and equipment providing good hygiene with the need for judicious use of skin care supplies and amount of water used in showers, sinks, and toilets.
Achieving Healthy School Siting and Planning Policies: Understanding Shared Concerns of Environmental Planners, Public Health Professionals, and Educators.
New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy ; v20 n1 , 49-72 ; 2010
Discusses policy decisions regarding the quality of the physical school environment--both, school siting and school facility planning policies. These are often considered through the lens of environmental planning, public health, or education policy, but rarely through all three. Environmental planners consider environmental justice issues on a local level and/or consider the regional impact of a school. Public health professionals focus on toxic exposures and populations particularly vulnerable to negative health outcomes. Educators and education policymakers emphasize investing in human capital of both students and staff. By understanding these respective angles and combining these efforts around the common goals of achieving adequacy and excellence, communities can work toward a regulatory system for school facilities that recognizes children as a uniquely vulnerable population and seeks to create healthier school environments in which children can learn and adults can work.[author's abstract]TO ORDER: http://baywood.metapress.com/
Despite H1N1 Threat, Survey Shows Many Still Neglect Hand Hygiene.
Facility Management Journal; v20 n1 , p38-42 ; Jan-Feb 2010
Cites the poor quality of restrooms as a disincentive to hand washing. Attractive and well-maintained facilities, with universal access, hands-free accessories, and solid-surface countertops are recommended.
How Ventilation Affects Comfort.
Facility Management Journal; v20 n1 , p35-37 ; Jan-Feb 2010
Discusses the role of air filters in maintaining indoor air quality, citing the history of filters, their typical composition, styles available, and the respective filtration capacities and resistance of five types of filters.
Lessons Learned from the H1N1 Pandemic.
School Planning and Management; v49 n1 , p74-76 ; Jan 2010
Expands on six lessons learned from the H1N1 pandemic, including community involvement, details of handling ill students, having a thorough plan, staying calm, educating every group, and having confidence in the safe environment that is being created.
Mitigating Influenza in Buildings.
Facility Management Journal; v20 n1 , p16-19 ; Jan-Feb 2010
Advises building operators on suppressing the odds of an influenza outbreak by maintaining appropriate humidity levels, servicing HVAC systems, using higher-efficiency filters, and training workers to avoid exposure to and spreading of influenza.
"We Can't Give Up. It's Too Important." Health and Safety Stories from Canadian and U.S. Schools.
NEW SOLUTIONS: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy ; v20 n1 , 81-93 ; 2010
Representatives of teachers and staff from Canada and the United States discuss the hazards and their effects. They also have many—often unrecognized—successes and related lessons to share. These include taking comprehensive approaches, looking for broad sweeps and entrees, using building sciences and strategies of solid information, acting with respect and with persistence, including students and parents, going for green cleaners, and using participatory methods. The representatives build on these to discuss what else needs to be done. The ideas are underpinned by the creativity, dedication, and persistence evident in their work to date.TO ORDER: http://baywood.metapress.com/